USC-Bound Sam Lewis Leads USA to Victory on Day 3 of Boys’ U19 Worlds

  0 Liam Smith | August 20th, 2017 | African Volleyball, Asian Volleyball, European volleyball, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, South American Volleyball, U.S. Men's National Team


6’10” USC-bound middle blocker Sam Lewis steered Team USA to a win over their continental rivals Puerto Rico today at Bahrain. Come this fall, he will be joining USC and will be tied for the second tallest Trojan volleyball player ever (with Szilard Kovacs and Chris McKniff, behind 6-11 Phil Small). This is not his first experience with Team USA youth teams, as he helped the USA Volleyball Boys Youth National Team win a silver medal at the 2016 NORCECA U19 Continental Championship in Havana, Cuba, and qualify for this very same World Championship.

Meanwhile, current champions Poland struggled and dropped their game to Cuba, and are still winless. Argentina and Iran, the remaining podium teams from the last tournament, did their homework and and bagged their second win of the contest. Complete pools and recaps from the third day of play follows:

Pool A

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  United States 2 0 6 6 2 3.000 196 179 1.095
3  Egypt 2 1 6 7 5 1.400 294 290 1.014
2  Bahrain 1 1 3 4 4 1.000 187 180 1.039
4  Puerto Rico 1 2 2 5 8 0.625 292 312 0.936
5  Tunisia 0 2 1 3 6 0.500 219 227 0.965


Pool B

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  France 2 1 6 8 5 1.600 294 269 1.093
2  Japan 2 0 5 6 2 3.000 189 160 1.181
3  Brazil 1 1 4 5 4 1.250 196 188 1.043
4  Cuba 1 2 2 3 8 0.375 214 241 0.888
5  Poland 0 2 1 3 6 0.500 169 204 0.828

Pool C

Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  South Korea 2 0 6 6 1 6.000 178 148 1.203
2  Argentina 2 0 6 6 1 6.000 171 143 1.196
3  Russia 1 1 3 4 3 1.333 160 138 1.159
4  Turkey 1 2 3 4 6 0.667 211 230 0.917
5  Chile 0 3 0 0 9 0.000 164 225 0.729

Pool D


Matches Pts Sets Points
Rank Team W L W L Ratio W L Ratio
1  Czech Republic 2 1 6 7 4 1.750 268 241 1.112
2  Iran 2 0 5 6 2 3.000 186 146 1.274
3  Italy 1 1 4 5 4 1.250 196 204 0.961
4  China 1 1 3 4 3 1.333 158 152 1.039
5  Mexico 0 3 0 0 9 0.000 163 228 0.715

FIVB Recaps

USA x Puerto Rico

Sam Lewis, Jonathan Bowles and Joel Schneidmiller steered USA to a 3-1 (25-21, 25-18, 23-25, 25-22) triumph against Puerto to start off the third day of play. Lewis led USA with 14 points, including eight attacks, three blocks and three aces. Bowles and Schneidmiller scored similar outputs with 11 attacks and two blocks each. The Puerto Rican tandem of Gabriel Garcia and Pedro Molina scored higher with 15 and 14 points, respectively. USA converted more attacks than Puerto Rico 54-42.

USA led Puerto Rico in scoring skills with 29 attacks, four blocks and four aces to win 25-21 and 25-18 in the first two sets. Puerto Rico won 25-23 in the third set, when they fielded in a different starting unit that ran better plays against USA. USA bounced back in the fourth set and completed the match win.

Here are the post match reactions:

USA captain Joel Schneidmiller: I think we’re close to our peak but there’s still a lot we can do. We were definitely not near our potential. I know we can still pass the ball better and do everything a lot better. It’s all slowly coming together and by the end of the tournament we will be 100 per cent.

USA coach Sam Shweisky: We are excited to be able to play and keep improving. We were able to play different guys today and we are very proud of them to come in and make some additions to the team. I’m really happy with our players’ performances. We’ve had such a short amount of time to train. It’s hard to know even with all the statistics and data where we are really at, but we’re pleased with what we’re seeing from the players. We try to make our players not think about being undefeated. When you think about the score and think about the outcome, it gets in the way. It’s human, we all think about it. We try really hard to say play the next ball, play the next point, play the next opponent and not think about who’s on the other side of the net. If we can just stay focused on the next point and process, that will help us.

Puerto Rico coach Juan Albarran: When you play a team like USA, you cannot commit too many errors. Today we did and that got us into a lot of trouble. We’re not safe in qualification. We must prepare to win tomorrow against Bahrain. If we do, we have a great chance to be in the second round.

Puerto Rico captain Gabriel Garcia: We don’t feel so much pressure with one game left. We tell the guys to be calm and take it easy. I think and believe that we can win tomorrow. We have to work on our concentration. We tell the guys that we have nothing to lose and to always try and get the win. So I hope things will come around.

Poland x Cuba

Jose Carlos Romero Gonzalez steered Cuba to defeat Poland 3-2 (21-25, 25-22, 25-9, 21-25, 15-10) after his team had suffered two straight losses in the competition. He and Rey Quesada scored 22 and 14 points, respectively. Poland’s Remegiusz Kapica topped all scorers with 23 points, but his team suffered their second loss from their 35 turnovers.

Kapica and Bartosz Firszt shared the scoring load for Poland as they exploited the Cuban defense to win 25-21 in the first set. Romero and Isaac began to feel their offensive rhythm, which helped their team take the next two sets. Kapica got back in the scoring picture to extend the match to a tie-breaker. Cuba’s net defense clicked, which helped them complete match victory in five sets.

Here are the post match reactions:

Cuba coach Jesus Lopez: My boys played different today. This is what we have been training for one year. We now have one victory and we have to win again tomorrow. The concentration in this match was very good. We served and received better. Our libero played better than our last two matches. All of these aspects were in our game today. Winning is the only thing in our minds now, nothing else.

Cuba captain Rey Quesada: We knew that our only option is to win because we already had two losses. We had a team meeting and talked about this game, and that helped a lot. We have our first victory now and this is wonderful. We must go to the field stronger than today and we must win.

Poland coach Maciej Zendel: We played like we did yesterday. We didn’t play against Brazil and today we didn’t play against Cuba. We played against our heads and we lost this game. We didn’t have good serve. We played bad volleyball, that’s why we lost.

Poland captain Szymon Jezierski: We made a lot of mistakes like we did yesterday. We wanted to win this match. Our chances to go to the next round are slimmer, but we won’t give up. We will keep going. We hope we can win our next match.

Argentina x Chile

Argentina conquered their second victory of the tournament with a straight-sets match against Chile (25-23, 25-13, 25-22). Argentina’s Juan Barrera led all scorers in the field with 12 points, with Nicolas Zerba and Federico Seia fielding in nine points each. Chile’s Vicente Ibarra and Esteban Mulchi posted double-digits with 12 points and 11 points respectively.

In the first set, Chile showed how they could play at par with the opponents, with good orchestration in offence, while maintaining a good defensive formation on the floor. The Chilean side failed to close out the opening set and seemed to have lost their rhythm in the next set. Meanwhile, Argentina ran their offence quite well, putting their wing and middle attackers to good use. Chile tried to get its rhythm back in the third set but could not keep their consistent play in check. Argentina seized momentum and played steadily to seal their second win.

Here are the post match reactions:

Argentina coach Luis Testa: I am very happy to win as we know this will be a difficult match. Chile played very well today, but I reminded the team to keep playing with the right attitude and with a lot of heart.

Argentina captain Federico Seia: When we were having a lot of mistakes in the match, we were able to recover using good reception and attack. This is very important for our team, to be able to recover. If we are able to adjust and regroup even in difficult moments, then we can be successful.

Chile captain Joaquin Leon: We lost today, but somehow, I want to think positive about the match. I think we played better compared to our earlier matches. We prepared for this match against Argentina, knowing they are a good opponent. They are stronger and it will always be difficult to play against them.

Iran x Mexico

Iran dealt a straight-sets match against Mexico (25-19, 25-12, 25-18) with opposite Porya Yali leading all scorers on the board with 15 points. Amir Hossein Toukteh, Amirhossein Esfandiar and Morteza Sharifi contributed nine points each to help bring Iran to their second victory in the competition.

Iran established their offensive prowess early on in the match, unleashing their attacks with much power and precision. The Mexican side found difficulty in responding to such powerful spikes, struggling to pass the ball to set up their own offence. The Asian side connected with a total of 38 attacks, where the NORCECA side managed to score with 15 spikes.

Here are the post match reactions:

Iran coach Reza Vakili Farjad: It was a good match for us with each one playing good volleyball on court. We have prepared for this championship with a good combination of training, recovery and mental conditioning. We are ready for any match in this tournament.

Iran captain Amirhossein Esfandiar: This is an important victory for us. If we played slow and if we relaxed, the result could have been different. Before we started the match, we knew we needed to be strong against a good team like Mexico. As captain, my team-mates need to see me as a strong leader. I want to win every match.

Mexico coach Gabriela Isela: It was a difficult match as Iran is a strong team. They are very tall, they play smart, and they seem to be playing together for a very long time. On our part, we have work point by point and find the best solution to win.

Mexico captain Raymond Gerald Stephens: I think we have to work harder and be physically stronger to become a better team.


South Korea x Turkey

Korea outplayed Turkey 3-1(26-28, 25-20, 25-21, 27-25) to pick up their second victory of the tournament. Donghyeok Im ignited the Korean offence with 23 points, with Sunho Kim contributing another 13 points. Adis Lagumdzija led the Turkish side with 22 points. Korea capitalized on a fast-paced offence, orchestrating their plays to outrun the opponent. Turkey was able to address the predicament by enabling a powerful front line to help secure the first set. The Asian side stood by their offensive rhythm. While the European side led in attacks (55 points), blocks (13 points), and aces (four points), the Asian side played more consistently, minimizing their errors to 22 to win the match.

Here are the post game reactions:

Korea coach Wongil Park: I think we won today because, firstly, we kept our focus during the match. We also had the will the win. The players encouraged one another to perform better. It is the first time that we played against Turkey. They are really tall and good at blocking. They are able to hit over our blockers, and we had to learn to adjust to this.

Korea captain Ikje Choi: All the players were able to concentrate well to stick to the game plan and perform well.

Turkey captain Adis Lagumdzija: We started with a good first set. In the second and third sets, we could not do as well as we did at the start. It was not the perfect day for us. We have a rest day coming and we hope we can move forward and play better in the next matches.

Japan x France

Kento Miyaura scored 22 points to guide Japan to a 3-2 (24-26, 27-25, 23-25, 25-20, 15-13) victory over France. Miyaura had 22 attacks and two blocks to lead all Japanese scorers. Mahiro Saeki and Shunichiro Sato scored 17 points apiece to help Japan in their intense clash with France. Celestin Cardin and Pierre Derouillon scored 22 points each for France.

France and Japan showed different playing styles that saw them alternate wins in the first four sets. France relied on their strong attacks, while Japan performed their fast-paced and defense-driven plays. In the fifth set, both squads fought for every point, but Japan got better breaks down the stretch to secure their second victory at 15-13.

Here are the post game reactions:

Japan coach Hiroshi Honda: It was a very tough match. We played with good defense and our blocking was key. We will now prepare for our match against Poland. Our goal now is to play at a high level in every match before we can start thinking of qualification.

Japan captain Kento Miyaura: France are a very strong team. We managed to stay motivated in the game and to stick to our strategy. We had great control of our mind and strategy in this game.

France coach Belmadi Slimane: I do not know what happened. I just know three times we gave five points in the fourth and fifth sets. It is impossible to win if we give up 15 points to our opponents. I think we waited to win the game. We did not do a good job. Both teams made a great match. The players were very good. We need to learn to finish the match if we want a medal in the World Championship.

France captain Lucas Soldner: Japan are a very good team and they have very good defense. They played well. We made a lot of errors in this game. We cannot win if we make so many errors.

Czech Republic x China

Czech Republic bounced back from their opening set loss, to win 3-1 against China (22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-22). Czech opposite Jan Svoboda scored 16 points from 14 attacks and two blocks. Lukas Vasina (15 points) and Marek Sotola (13 points) also helped boost the scoring output from the European side. China’s captain Cong Tian led all scorers with 18 points, but the Asian side suffered dearly from errors in crucial moments.

The Asian side ran a well-distributed offence, which the 2017 European Champions addressed accordingly. The Czech side put their strong front line to good use, by connecting with a total of 14 blocks, as China managed merely four deflections.

Here are the post match reactions:

Czech Republic coach Jiri Zach: It was important for us to feel that we could win today, to gain a good chance to proceed to the top eight teams. We have not played against China before. In the first set, we felt nervous and made some mistakes. But soon after, we played much better.

Czech Republic player Jan Svoboda: This was an important match for us. We needed to win, and I think we played well. In the first set, China played with good service, block and reception. But we tried to adjust to these aspects and improved our play.

China coach Haichuan Wang: Our match today had so many ups and downs. We really wanted to win the game but we made so many errors. It was a battle between two good teams, but in the end, it was the better team that won.

Egypt x Tunisia

Youssef Hamdy Awad had a 34-point performance that aided Egypt to a 3-1 (26-24, 22-25, 30-28, 32-30) win over Tunisia. He headed the Egyptian front line and delivered 25 attacks, seven blocks and two aces. Moyassar Magdi Abouraian entered as a substitute in the first two sets, but deserved to start in the next two sets as he scored 13 points. Tunisia’s Hedi Khazri and Nidhal Mhemdi had 19 and 18 points, respectively.

Egypt showed great patience to secure the first set after getting into an intense exchange of rallies with Tunisia. The Tunisians fought back in the second set, but Egyptian hitter Elsafy scored a huge number of attacks that helped them snatch the third set. Tunisia challenged their Egypt down to the wire, but latter closed set and match with two strong attacks.

Here are the post match reactions:

Egypt coach Nehad Shehata: We marked this match as special because my team lost to Tunisia in the African Championship. This match was very important for my team to believe in themselves and gain confidence to compete in this tournament. We formed this team to play in the World Championship and we want to be the dark horse in this competition.

Egypt captain George Bakhit: This was a better match for us. We lost to Tunisia in the African Championship. We played even better today than yesterday. It is a very important win for us because this gives us a chance to continue competing in this tournament. We hope we can get a very good ranking.

Tunisia coach Chokri Bouzidi: We’ve played against each other in the African Championship, so we know each other very well. Every time we face each other we are always very close in the results. Our losses have been very close and there are little things that affected us in these matches.

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